The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 27—To R. A. Underwood


Washington, D.C., January 26, 1889,

Dear Brother Underwood,

We arrived here last evening. Willie could not accompany us conveniently. He comes today. Sister Bolton accompanied me. 1888 251.1

I thank my heavenly Father that He has given me a good decree of health, but that which I prize above everything else is the blessed comforter, His peace, His rest, His love in my heart. 1888 251.2

I found on reaching the mission two letters, one from yourself, and one from Brother ----- in reference to our coming to -----. My Brother, you well understand your position in reference to me and my work while in the conference at Minneapolis. There has been no change in my ideas and views of the condition of things among our ministering brethren. The testimony I bore in that conference is the same testimony I have borne before and since that conference convened. The Lord imparted His spirit to me in a special manner on that occasion, but I have not had one question in reference to my duty in bearing to you the message I did; but you did not recognize the voice of the true shepherd speaking through his servant. Again and again did I bear my testimony to those assembled, in a clear and forcible manner, but that testimony was not received. When I came to Battle Creek, I repeated the same testimony in the presence of Elder Butler, but there was not one who had the courage to stand by my side and help Elder Butler to see that he, as well as others, had taken wrong positions, and had misapprehended my words, and had false ideas in reference to my position and work. The prejudice of Elder Butler was greater after hearing the various reports from our ministering brethren at that meeting in Minneapolis. Elder Butler presented the matter before me in a letter stating that my attitude at that conference just about broke the hearts of some of our ministering brethren at that meeting. 1888 251.3

I will not state any further particulars, but you will need to know that I have not changed my ideas, or my position. The way I viewed things I plainly stated to you at Minneapolis. I am the same in mind, in spirit and in faith. Because of the ideas that had been started and were prevailing, being sent by letters from the conference and afterwards reported, I stated by experience and work for the last forty five years before you at Minneapolis and Battle Creek. But since some of my brethren hold me in the light they do, that my judgment is of no more value than that of any other, or of one who has not been called to this special work, and that I am subject to the influence of my son Willie, or of some others, why do you send for Sister White to attend your camp-meetings or special meetings? I cannot come. I could not do you any good, and it would only be trifling with the sacred responsibilities the Lord has laid upon me. 1888 252.1

You have not given me one word to intimate that your position or sentiments have changed, or that you viewed me or my work in a different light. If I should come in accordance with your call, and my ideas should not harmonize with your ideas, my counsel not be in accordance with your counsel, would not the same spirit and attitude manifested at Minneapolis be resumed? If I should harmonize with your ideas and carry forward the line of work you sincerely wish me to accomplish, great use would be made of Sister White's testimony. If the Lord gives me the least intimation that He would have me come to you, I will cheerfully come; for it is more than my meat and drink to do his holy will. But I cannot see now how the Lord would be glorified in my doing this. Have you made any efforts to correct Brother Butler's misapprehension through the false ideas that you and others presented to him in regard to my work? I think that my brethren have a work to do before they can expect the Lord to give them light through Sister White, for they have disregarded her testimony and shown contempt for the very work that the Lord has given her to do. I have a work to do for those who will be helped, even if the light given does not harmonize with their ideas. They will recognize the light from God, because they have the fruits of the work which the Lord has been pleased to do through his humble instrument in the last forty five years. They acknowledge this work to be of God, and are therefore willing to be corrected in their ideas and to change their course of action. But those who will maintain and retain their own ideas, and because they are corrected, conclude that Sister White is influenced to take a certain course of action which is not in harmony with their ideas, and they are at liberty to pass judgment against her testimony because it reproves their ideas and corrects their wrongs, could not be benefited. I would not consider such friends to be of any value in a hard place, especially in a crisis. Now you have my mind. I do not want to do the work of God in a bungling manner. I want to know what duty is and move in harmony with the spirit of God. 1888 252.2

For me to stand ready to advise and counsel my brethren who have no faith in my judgment and counsel, would be a waste of time and strength. Let me labor with those who have not been leavened with prejudice and unbelief, and who have not taken decided positions to make of none effect my words which I know were given me of God for their benefit. The Lord's work is not to be trifled with. It is not yea and nay: but yea and amen in Christ Jesus. I wish not to subject myself to any such an experience as I had at Minneapolis unless the Lord shall signify to me that it is my duty. I have not changed in ideas or spirit since then. Have you changed? If so, please let me know. I know not what testimony the Lord may give me for you, and I should have to speak the word the Lord would give me, for I am not my own, I am under the control of my master, Jesus Christ. The words He gave me to speak at Minneapolis, I shall speak <as the Spirit of the Lord bids me wherever I am>, whether it pleases or displeases. Frequently I do not anticipate saying the things I do say when I am speaking before the people. God may give me words of reproof, of warning, or encouragement as he sees fit, for the benefit of souls. I shall speak these words, and they may cut across the track of my brethren whom I sincerely love and respect in the truth. To have these words distorted, misapprehended by unbelievers, I expect, and it is no surprise to me, but to have my brethren who are acquainted with my mission and my work, trifle with the message that God gives me to bear, grieves His spirit, and it is discouraging to me. To have them pick out portions that please them in the testimonies which they construe to justify their own course of action and give the impression that that portion they accept as the voice of God, and then when other testimonies come that bring rebuke upon their course, when words are spoken that do not coincide with their opinions and judgment, they dishonor God's work by saying, “Oh, this we do not accept. It is only Sister White's opinion, and is no better than my opinion or that of any one else.” This is dishonoring to God and grievous to His spirit. 1888 254.1

My way is hedged up by my brethren. I cannot reach the very ones God wants to reach and help. When my brethren tell me that they moved under a mistaken idea of me and my work, when they try, in the fear of God, to counteract the work they have done before coming to Minneapolis and since that time, and will give respect and honor to the work of the Spirit of God through whomsoever He will choose to work, then my work is clear and I will do any thing. But I must not move in blindness and in uncertainty, but intelligently. You now understand my position, and I hope you will make crooked things straight, and see clearly. I leave this matter now. 1888 255.1

With much peace in God, I remain your sister in Christ. 1888 256.1

Ellen G. White.