Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)


Lt 61, 1900

Irwin, G. A.

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

April 23, 1900

See Lt 61a, 1900. This letter is published in entirety in FBS 94-96.

Dear Brother:

I have read what you say in regard to Fannie Bolton. There is no truth in the statement that I told Fannie to write a letter or testimony to A. R. Henry. My testimonies to the churches, and to individuals have never been written that way. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 1

The claim that she is inspired is not a new one with Fannie. Shortly after the Armadale camp meeting, she claimed that the Bible readings that she gave were inspired of God. She said that when she talked, her hearers would grow pale under the effects of her words. Some of our people believed the assertion that she was inspired. But I knew that her course, and her spirit, were not pleasing to God. Her unwise, inconsistent course showed that she was under a deception of the devil. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 2

All through her experience, Fannie’s light has been too much like that of a meteor. It flashes up, and then goes out in darkness. Her feelings are counted by her to be religion. What a pity that she has so much confidence in her brilliant flashes! Her mind is so full of an emotional religion, that she knows not what the genuine article is. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 3

If she were converted and used by the Lord, she would have a clear understanding of the influence of her past misrepresentations of the work she has done for me; and [she] would confess some of her misstatements regarding it which have been used by [the] enemy to unsettle and undermine the faith of many, in the testimonies of the Spirit of God. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 4

Such claims as we hear that she is now putting forth must be contradicted, that poor souls may be saved from deception. This claim that she has now received the Holy Spirit is another manifestation of the desire to exalt herself as ordained by the Lord to bear a message to His people. The Lord did not send her, yet she ran. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 5

Those who know not the voice of God, those who have been unwilling to receive the true testimonies from the Lord, may listen to the voice of a stranger, and receive from a human agent what is supposed to be truth. But, “What is the chaff to the wheat?” [Jeremiah 23:28.] The people of God should know that they are on trial for eternal life, and that they must accept no delusive sentiments. May God save them from Satan’s snares. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 6

Some may ask, Why was Sister Bolton allowed to be so long connected with the work if this desire for praise, this tendency to self-exaltation, was manifested? At different times I labored with her faithfully, pointing out her danger, and endeavoring to help her to understand the character of the work, and the relations of the human agent to it. Many times she acknowledged the mistakes that her approbativeness had led her to make, and confessed her weakness and love of praise. She would declare that the lesson had now been thoroughly learned, and that thereafter she would guard against self-exaltation. And she was always anxious to retain her connection with the work, sometimes begging with tears not to be disconnected from it. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 7

Several times I was warned of the Lord that she was taking a course to undermine the confidence of the people in the testimonies, and after the Armadale camp meeting she was disconnected from my work. This was a great relief, for her injudicious course had become a great burden to me. But one night, after this, the angel of the Lord stood by my side, instructing me to give Fannie another chance to connect with me and again take up the work. I was plainly instructed to give her another trial. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 8

To the astonishment of those who knew what the work had suffered, and what I had suffered from her erratic and injudicious course, I did this. She was sick at the home of Brother McCullagh. I brought her to my home and fitted up a room for her away from the other workers, for she could not endure any noise. I cared for her as I would for my own sister. And after a time I put copy in her hands, endeavoring to follow the course pointed out to me by the angel. She took the article and begun the work, but found that she was not able to proceed with it. She told me that she could not possibly do the work, and she feared that she would never again have the privilege of having the precious matter in her hands. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 9

She asked that she might take some articles with her to prepare for me when she was able, but to this I could not consent. She also spoke of returning to Australia when her health was restored, to again take up the work. But I told her that I could hold out no encouragement regarding this. I said, “The Lord instructed me to forgive you, and take you back for another trial. This I have done. But even while you are confessing your wrong course to me and the work, you admit that you are afraid, should you take up the work again, that you would go over the same ground that you have gone over in the past. You have said that you dare not take up the work again here, and that you think you would better go to America. When you say this, I am free.” 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 10

I now see why I was directed to give Fannie another trial. There were those who misunderstood me because of Fannie’s misrepresentations. These were watching to see what course I would take in regard to her. They would have represented that I had abused poor Fannie Bolton. In following the directions to take her back, I took away all occasion for criticism from those who were ready to condemn me. 15LtMs, Lt 61, 1900, par. 11