Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15

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Lt 120, 1900

Statement Concerning Editorial Work for Mrs. E. G. White

NP

1900

This letter is compiled from Lt 6, 1894 and Lt 9, 1895, which are published in entirety in FBS 34-36, 46-48.

In answer to reports concerning Sister White’s editorial work, please read the following statements: 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 1

Sister White is the prophet of the Lord for the remnant church, and though the Lord has seen fit to choose one for this work who is not proficient in grammar and rhetoric, and this lack is supplied by others, yet she is responsible for every thought, for every expression, in her writings. Every manuscript that is edited goes back to her for examination. ... 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 2

As far as changing Sister White’s expressions is concerned, I can say that just as far [as] it is consistent with grammar and rhetoric, her expressions are left intact. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 3

(Signed.) Fannie Bolton.

Granville, New South Wales, Australia

November 11, 1894

*****

Never have I said to any one that you could neither read nor write, were ignorant, or that _____ or I made your books. Never did I design to leave such an impression. What I did mean was that it (the manuscript) was in a better grammatical, rhetorical, and logical shape than when it came into your editor’s hands. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 4

(Signed.) Fannie Bolton

July 5, 1897

Battle Creek, Michigan

*****

Letters by Mrs. E. G. White

The following letters were addressed by Sister White to Fannie Bolton. The circumstances that called forth the first letter took place about the beginning of 1894. Fannie had expressed to others her dissatisfaction because, as she thought, sufficient recognition was not given to her talent in Sister White’s work. She seemed to feel that the work largely owed its excellence and success to her efforts, and that this should be publicly acknowledged. Sister White recognized in all this a desire for self-exaltation, a spirit dangerous to the work. She knew that Fannie was under a deception, and was misleading others; that she greatly overestimated what she had done, and that by her misrepresentations she was casting doubt on the work of the Spirit of God, causing it to be regarded as the production of human talent. She therefore felt it her duty to sever Fannie’s connection with her work. This called forth a letter of confession, to which the following is a response. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 5

[From Lt 6, 1894:]

Melbourne,

February 1894

As far as yourself and your connection with me personally is concerned, I have and do freely forgive you. I have declined to see you for the reason that I am not clear in reference to the future. I want to keep this question constantly before God and view the future of our relationship to each other in the work in His light, and move in His counsel, who is too wise to err and too good to do us harm. He sees the end from the beginning. He knows all things. Past, present, and future are all clear to Him. Not so to me. You are a mystery to me. If it is for our good and His glory that we cooperate in the work, understanding more fully its sacred character, seeking to meet the highest requirements, through the grace of Jesus Christ, freely given to His workers if they ask Him, I shall be relieved. I would accept the situation and seek in every way to do this, His work which He has given me to do, in all meekness and lowliness of mind, in order that the glory shall not come to the human agents, but flow back in rich streams to Him who has given wisdom and ability to do the work. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 6

The Lord is acquainted with us individually. Every one born into the world is given his or her work to do, for the purpose of making the world better; and in doing our God-appointed work, we make ourselves better; for in doing the work given us of God, we individually live out the law and the gospel. Each one has his sphere, and if the human agent makes God his counsellor, then there will be no working at cross-purposes with God. He allots to every one a place and a work, and if we individually submit ourselves to be worked by the Lord, however confused and tangled life may seem to our eyes, God has a purpose in it all, and the human machinery, obedient under the hand of divine wisdom, will accomplish the purposes of God. As in a well-disciplined army, every soldier has his allotted position and is required to act his part in contributing to the strength and perfection of the whole, so the worker for God must do his allotted part in the great work of God. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 7

Life as it now appears is not what God designed it should be, and this is why there is so much that is perplexing, for there is much wear and friction. The man or woman that leaves the place that God has given him or her, in order to please inclination and act on his own devised plan, meets with disappointment, because he has chosen his way instead of God’s way. There are those that accept positions of responsibility, but fail to sense the responsibility, and thus do haphazard work without at all understanding its character. Others accept the work for which they have no fitness, and they have no appreciation of the fact that they are under rule to God, and are every striving to guide themselves, and to control their own being. Other individuals study to have their own way, and work out their own plans, and God erects His barriers, and does not allow them to do as they would. They are the Lord’s by creation and by redemption, and He will not allow them to have their own way and be every trying to set aside the will of God for some plan of their own. They are to fill the place God allotted to them, and do the work the Lord has given into their hands. Wilfulness and inclination cannot be masters of the situation. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 8

Our heavenly Father is our Ruler, and we must submit to His discipline. We are members of His family. He has a right to our service, and if one of the members of His family would persist in having his own way, persist in doing just that which he pleased, that spirit would bring about a disordered and perplexing state of things. We must not study to have our own way, but God’s way and God’s will. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 9

I feel now, my sister, that let God speak, and we will say, “Not my will, but thy will, O God, be done.” [See Luke 22:42.] I know that human beings suffer much because they step out of the path that God has chosen for them to follow. They walk in the sparks of the fire they themselves have kindled, and the sure result is affliction, unrest, and sorrow, which they might have avoided if they had submitted their will to God, and had permitted him to control their ways. God sees that it is necessary to oppose our will and our way, and bring our human will into subjection. Whatever path God chooses for us, whatever way He ordains for our feet, that is the only path of safety. We are daily to cherish a spirit of childlike submission and pray that our eyes may be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve in order that we may discern the indications of the divine will, lest we become confused in our ideas, because our will seems to be all-controlling. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 10

With the eye of faith, with childlike submission as obedient children, we must look to God, to follow His guidance, and difficulties will clear away. The promise is, “I will instruct thee and teach thee. ... I will guide thee with mine eye.” [Psalm 32:8.] The Lord has promised to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. Shall we take God at His word? If we come to God in a humble and teachable spirit, not with our plans all formed before we ask him, and shaped according to our own will, but in submission, in willingness, to be taught in faith, it is our privilege to claim the promise every hour of the day. We may distrust ourselves; we need to guard against our own inclinations and strong tendencies, lest we shall follow our mind and plans, and think it is the way of the Lord, but let us never disbelieve the word of the promise. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 11

True and abiding happiness can never be derived from any human being. We may have special, select friends, that all unperceived and unacknowledged by us, we place in the heart where God should be, and we can never perfect a round, full Christian experience until every earthly support is removed, and the soul centers its entire affections about God. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” [Psalm 127:1.] 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 12

There is need of watching unceasingly the natural affections and tendencies of our own hearts, lest we become estranged from God and place our affections on human beings to the dishonor of God; for our happiness will be imperiled unless we watch and pray, and cherish the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. We must make God our trust. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 13

Now, Fannie, I am desirous for your best good and wish that you may not have the least bit of vanity of mind in any direction. I am burdened for you. I want that you should make a success of overcoming every temptation to be vain, or worldly, or self-sufficient, for it is death to spirituality. It lays our souls open to the suggestions of Satan. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 14

I send these lines to you to give relief, if possible, with the assurance that I will seek to know the will of God in reference to our future work. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 15

*****

Nearly two years after the foregoing was written, the same trouble again arose. Being just at the opening of a camp meeting, it brought great addition burden and distress upon Sister White, at a time when every energy of mind and body seemed to be taxed to the utmost. At this time the following letter was written by her to Fannie. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 16

[From Lt 9, 1895:]

Armadale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

November 7, 1895

Sister Fannie:

The past night my sleep has troubled me. I am communicating to you in my sleeping hours. I have been waiting, hoping that some word would be given me that would mark out the way of the Lord more distinctly, that I might know what to do. But I have had no additional light; therefore I must take heed to the light I have already had from time to time in the past. I shall not trace with pen the many things that have occurred in the history of the past. It would only make me live them over afresh. I merely state that what has occurred on this campground is not a sudden temptation, new and strange to the human agent. It is a line of thought that has been cherished, and that will continue to be cherished. It may be smothered, but I cannot flatter myself that it is dead, without the possibility of a resurrection. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 17

At the very time when you knew me to be suffering most with physical infirmities; at the very time when it was essential that I should have all my powers under full control, and that I should have the most favorable surroundings, to keep my mind in peace and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, on this important occasion I am brought into perplexity and distress which is scarcely endurable. Impediments of a very trying character are thrown in my way to weaken my hands, to take all courage out of my heart, and leave me to wrestle with uncertainties, to meet a harvest of unbelief and suspicion which your misrepresentations have aroused. If these were true as represented, God would set me aside and take Fannie Bolton in my stead. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 18

I will not attempt to say all that might be said. I can but go over the ground of the last six or seven years, step by step, from point to point, since my connection with you, and inquire, What am I? and, What will God have of me? I am still in a maze of perplexity. But I see only one course open before me. If my life is worth saving, I must disconnect from Fannie. And this is her only hope. It is a great trial for me to do this, for I have no one selected to prepare my articles. ... Being dependent upon an editor to prepare my articles for the press makes my work difficult, and I am still in great trial. To get a stranger who is unacquainted with me might be to go through the experience that I have had with Fannie. But I give Fannie up on this ground. ... 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 19

The warnings given to Fannie by the Lord have not been pleasant to consider, and she has not taken heed to them. She has held herself in her own hands. She has not regarded as sacred nor treated as such the precious matter entrusted to her. She has not obtained knowledge from it, not practiced the principles kept constantly before her. Familiarity with the most solemn messages that I have felt I must write has bred contempt. They have become common to her mind. Therefore for her soul’s sake, and in order to preserve my life, I must sever all connection with Fannie Bolton. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 20

(For many years, Sister White has suffered from a form of heart disease. Her work is of a character which severely taxes mind and soul and body. Additional excitement or cause of anxiety imperils her life.) 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 21

I understand that she says that she has plenty of work which she can do. If sanctified, if holy, if cleansed in mind and purified in soul, if meek and lowly in heart, God will forgive the past and work with her efforts. But if she works to obtain praise and glory for herself, she will work alone. I dare not trust her to handle my manuscript. I should ever be in uncertainty as to how it is treated if I take her testimony as truth. But this temptation will always be a dangerous one to her. If she uses her ability, given her of God, to exhibit what Fannie Bolton can do, she works in herself, and out of Christ. ... 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 22

Fannie, I forgive you for the pain and suffering you have caused me, and which has been so many times repeated. I forgive as I hope to be forgiven. Let notwithstanding I forgive, I must do according to the light and warnings given me in the past in reference to the work God has given me, and in reference to your work in connection with me. You cannot discern the character of the work the Lord has given me to do, else you would not regard it as a common thing. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 23

Your soul is precious in the sight of God. By being converted daily from your own way, by accepting God’s way as a little child, you will find your only hope of heaven. You have been praised and exalted. You have been given credit for possessing great piety and disinterested devotion. This is a mistake. The emotional part of your nature has been called into exercise altogether too much for your own good and for the good of those with whom you associate. You have been keyed up to a high tension in your intensity of feeling. You do many things of which there are not found solid, abiding results. Self was mingled with everything, tainting and corrupting your service. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 24

It is always safe to use the holy fire of God’s own kindling, and no other. I ask you to read the 16th chapter of Numbers. If I have worked in self, my work will not stand; if I have worked in God, the work will endure. 15LtMs, Lt 120, 1900, par. 25