The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials

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Chapter 36—To J. Fargo

F-50-1889

Canton, Penn. May 2, 1889

Dear Brother Fargo:

I have been reading the letter of Elder Butler's written in answer to the letter I wrote to him just before the Week of Prayer. In that letter he made the statement that the position I took at the General Conference nearly broke the heart of my ministering brethren, and he thought the wound was not healed and never would be healed. He stated to me that Eld. Goodrich and Eld. Fargo and some of my very best friends had made this statement to him. 1888 294.1

Now, Bro. Fargo, if you did go from that conference and make such statements to Elder Butler, have you had no evidence to change your mind? and how could you represent this as you did to Elder. B. who was broken in mind and diseased in body, who was in a condition to exaggerate every statement made? How can God look upon this work of my good ministering brethren? If you have acted a part because of blindness of mind in helping Eld. Butler to remain under a deception, making statements to him which his diseased imagination would construe into the worst possible light, God will not look on this work with any favor, for if this, your work, is of God, then He has not been leading me. Did not you see enough at that meeting if your mind had not been wrongly impressed by the prevailing leaven at work in that meeting at Minneapolis to know that God was not with those who were so stirred up over the Law in Galatians? Did you not have evidence that the Spirit that controlled at that meeting was not the spirit of Jesus? What evidence had you or any one at that meeting that I was changed in my relation to the work of God and what did you perceive in my speaking to the people when the testimonies God had given me were of a different order and character than they had been? When I came to Potterville I bore the same testimonies. Wherein did you distinguish in the message I bore, an uncertain sound that would lead you to suppose it was not the voice of the true Shepherd through His humble messenger? 1888 294.2

I want you to look over the past since that meeting in Minneapolis and then consider whether you are in the line of duty to maintain a silence and the same position as you did at that meeting, Is God glorified with this position? Does it bring to you any strength or hope? You have had evidence as much as you will ever have, that the Lord gave me the burden of message for His people while they were assembled at Minneapolis. You have evidence that the Lord was with me at Potterville, but you make no change in your feelings or your attitude, and just as surely as you stand where you did while you were at Minneapolis no additional light will come to you. You will be accounted as one who will not open their eyes that they may see and their ears that they may hear. Darkness will just as surely come upon you as you stand in the position you did at Minneapolis. I have no evidence that you, Brother Howard Miller, Bro. Rubert have made the least acknowledgments that you were wrong in your views and feelings in regard to myself, W.C.W., A.T. Jones or Brother E. J. Waggoner. If God has ever spoken by me I speak to you now decidedly that you were deceived. You came to that meeting deceived. You had wrong ideas of your brethren and you worked and our ministering brethren worked under a false impression. You had an opportunity to test the spirits at that meeting. If you had not been blinded you could have seen and understood that the spirit brought to that meeting was not the spirit of Christ. The different views in regard to the law in Galatians need not have produced any such exhibitions. I have not the slightest burden upon that subject. God has not inspired all this intense feeling over that subject. I have not a particle of burden on that subject. My only trouble is the position of those ministers who were at that conference who manifested so little of the spirit of Christ and possessed more largely the spirit which controlled the scribes and Pharisees which planned the betrayal and acted a prominent part in the trial of Christ, in false statements, in accusing of Christ and making Him appear before the people in the worst possible light. 1888 294.3

Repeating these statements, they acted upon the human minds and hearts, stirring up the worst elements of the character of the natural heart, unsanctified by the truth. When I sensed at the conference the condition of things I knew God would not illuminate the minds thus inflamed, by what?—the spirit of the enemy, for it was nothing else. God's truth needed no such a spirit to stand in its defense. I knew that there were men there who were proclaiming the truth who were unworthy and whose hearts were vessels of dishonor. 1888 295.1

I had messages of reproof for some but the spirit that prevailed which was not of Christ but of the enemy made of no effect my words. Christ was wounded in the house of His friends. It was not by me! Not by me, that Christ was dishonored! It was by my brethren who had no just cause for thus making of none effect my labors at that meeting. I was about to leave the meeting for Kansas for I could not see that my remaining would do any good. Bro. Kilgore urged me to speak Sabbath. I said, “No, I will not be guilty of wasting my words and strength further for a people who are filled with prejudice and evil surmisings, who withstand my labors and whom I cannot convince of truth. I will speak in the afternoon to the Scandinavians because they desire it so much.” 1888 296.1

That night the angel of the Lord stood by my bed and said to me many things which I will not attempt to write here, but I was commanded to stand at my post of duty; that there was a spirit coming in taking possession of the churches, that if permitted would separate them from God as verily as the churches who refused light that God sent them in messages of warning and of light that they might advance in regard to His second coming to our world. 1888 296.2

I have been shown that the people of God are not fully enlightened in regard to the many devices of the relentless foe whom they will have to encounter. Those who should be well experienced are, in a large measure, ignorant of the workings of Satan and he is taking them unawares. There is a great, grand charge to be made by a united front against the enemy and Satan has great victories because there is a difference in views in our ranks upon some points of Scripture not (of) a vital character. Men who claim to believe the truth, I have been shown, will develop their true standing before God. My guide said, “Follow me.” I was then taken to the different houses where our people made their homes. I heard the conversation, the remarks, made in reference to myself; the testimonies borne at that meeting were commented upon. W.C.W. was talked of and presented in a most ridiculous light. I could define the speakers by their voices. A. T. Jones was commented upon in like manner, so was E. J. Waggoner, Said my guide, “Where is the earnest prayer, the seeking of God with humble heart for light?” I was listening in the different rooms to the sarcastic remarks, unchristian comments, the excitable, exaggerated statements made all because that there was a difference in the views of the law in Galatians. O consistency, hast thou departed from the midst of Seventh-day Adventists? After listening some time to the free, unchristlike words, then my work was appointed me. 1888 296.3

I was told this spirit had been gathering strength for years and the leavening influence was at work and spiritual life was going out of the churches. In their gatherings for meeting there was lightness, trifling, jesting, joking,—a spirit that God frowns upon. I was promised that if I stood faithfully at my post of duty the Lord would sustain me to do the work given me of God. His everlasting arms would be beneath me, but I must bear the message the Lord gave me whether men would hear or forbear. I have tried to do this. I sent word that I would speak Sabbath forenoon and I did speak and I did not leave the meeting until my work was ended. I bore my testimony in Battle Creek but there was not one of my brethren who had the moral courage to stand by my side and take back or confess that they had pursued a wrong course and misjudged their brethren and misjudged me. 1888 297.1

I bore my testimony in Potterville. The Spirit of the Lord attended me, but not one of those who had drank in that spirit of doubt and questioning, who had withdrawn their confidence from me and the work God had entrusted to me, confessed their mistakes and the deception they had been under. The Lord wrought for His people in Battle Creek but notwithstanding the evidences of the work of God, not one who was leavened with the spirit of doubts and suspicion and evil surmisings after they saw that life and freedom and the blessing of God was brought in to the churches by the messages borne by the very ones they had misjudged and demerited and had misstated and falsified had any words of confession. They did not then admit their wrong and confess their errors and take their stand firmly for the right. Were they too proud to do this? What has come over our people? I have the same testimonies to bear I ever have borne during the last forty-five years. I did plead that our ministering brethren should act like Christians at Minneapolis, which many of them did not do. You are well aware that the power of God attended the messages I gave to the people but all this is neutralized by hearsay, by the strong feelings that had been worked up and the suggestions made by Elder Butler which suggestions he has no delicacy in making to my face in his letters to me. I tell you, for Christ's sake, as I have told others,—give up your false ideas and be not deceived. 1888 297.2

In regard to the meeting in Kansas I had not been there over the first night when I had opened to me the true condition of things, The leaven of Minneapolis was brought from Iowa and its work was being carried on to make of none effect the labors of Eld. A. T. Jones and my work. The next morning I spoke decidedly upon this matter and plainly stated in substance that which I have traced with pen and ink in this letter. Brother Hall, President of Kansas conference arose and said, “My confidence in the testimonies the Lord gives Sister White is confirmed. I was in one of the very rooms she mentions, the very statements made are more clearly pictured than I could possibly describe the incidents myself. Minneapolis was the first general conference that I ever attended. I was but a child in the truth, three years old. I had implicit confidence in my ministering brethren. I believed them to be conscientiously doing their work. I looked up to them, trusted in them, respected them, but the remarks I listened to day after day did make an impression upon my mind. I bore this talk, thinking it must be so but it became too strong for me and on one occasion I just boiled over. I told them just what I thought of such talk and the manifestation of such a spirit. For a little time it was better but whenever something fresh would come up all and more was repeated. I said if this was a sample of the spirit brought into the General Conference, I never desired to attend another.” He humbly confessed that he did become carried away with the current for which he heartily repented. Bro. McReynolds bore testimony that the description given by Sister White was true to the letter. He was unfortunate enough to be one of the number in the room with the Iowa brethren and he was distressed for two weeks. He was not drawn in but the current became too strong and he lost his bearings and confessed he united in the spirit to some degree. He said for two weeks as Sister White has said, there was not a vocal prayer offered in the house. He had before this made humble confessions to me of this matter which he repeated at the meeting. Our meeting had to close before we could go any farther. Young Brother Washburn and his wife came to our tent and talked with me and I talked with them freely and told them if they had come to me I would have gladly explained everything to their satisfaction. Brother Porter came. I talked with him freely and told them not half as much as I have told you when you came to Battle Creek and it helped their minds. Friday again the Lord gave me a decided testimony to bear which made as decided impression on minds. 1888 298.1

Sabbath day Brother Porter was wonderfully exercised. He was in meeting. He said, “I thought I was going to faint. I felt that I was dying. I dropped my head on the seat before me (and) when I raised my head, I was revolutionized. Every point which had been clouded with darkness was clear as Eld. A.T. Jones has presented it. I wrote it and as the Lord had presented it to me in a clear line from Adam down, the righteousness of Christ in the law.” 1888 299.1

Sunday I bore in the morning meeting a testimony upon the same point in regard to the Christless wicked surmisings and misrepresentations that had been made in Minneapolis by my ministering brethren. The break came, thank God! My words were not to them as idle tales. Brother Porter, minister from Iowa, arose and said, “I came to this meeting in complete darkness. Satan was at work with me to raise my combative spirit and I was growing darker and darker but I am converted. I see the light. I was not at Minneapolis. If I had been, I fear I should have been the worst among my brethren but I rejoice in God. I see now clearly. I am now determined to work in an opposite direction from that which I have been hitherto working. I want you, my brethren, to forgive me for my blindness and for my stubbornness,” Young Brother Washburn arose and talked quite lengthily. He said when at Minneapolis he was one who thought Sister White's testimony could not be truth when she stated she had had in California no conversation with A.T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. He did not say that Sister White lied but he might as well said it for he stated to others it could not be so. And he did not believe that Sister White told the truth. But he said, “I confess this to my shame. I have confessed it to Sister White and I confess it to God. I repent of this everlastingly.” He was free in the Lord. Bro. Wakeham was also free to confess he with Brother Conradi were in that room where many ministers made their home and he acted a part in the talking. He had enjoyed more of the blessing of God in the last twenty-four hours than he (had) done in all his life before. Our meeting moved off after this much more freely and the blessing of the Lord rested upon the people. I write you these particulars that you may see if you have done all that you ought to do in regard to the removing the impression you and your ministering brethren have left upon Elder Butler's mind which have misled him and he was, poor man, sick both in body and mind, broken in mind, yet treated as one who was sound and his imaginings as correct as the mind of God. 1888 299.2

There was poor Brother Ostrander that went to that meeting, unbalanced in mind, little less than insane man. His brethren were in so great blindness they were so wrought up over the law in Galatians, they had no sense to discern his true condition and the question was gravely asked me by the committee who visited me, for my counsel of Bro. Ostrander. Would not he be one whose name should be put on the paper as one to run for the presidency of General Conference? This man was even dangerous in his home in his insanity before he left home, for his wife has told me in regard to it. But this man was fully in the confidence of Elder Butler and in his weak condition strong impressions from this man were made on his mind. As Brother Butler stated, my best and most experienced ministering brethren could tell him their hearts were nearly broken at the positions Sister White took at the General Conference. I wish for these ministers’ sake, the breaking of the heart would have been more thorough for then there would be reformation and the mould of God would be upon them in the place of the mould of men. Would that these brethren would be illuminated by the spirit of God rather than to continue longer walking in the sparks of their own kindling. They talk thru mist, thru doubts, thru darkness but do not open their hearts to the light that God has sent them to clear away the fog. They close their hearts to knowledge that God would give them but open them to all the doubts that are floating from one to another. 1888 300.1

The work they ought to do they do not do and God will give them no greater light than they have had until they acknowledge the light He has already given them. They have caused Brother Butler to stumble. They have to remove the stumbling blocks from his path and make straight paths for their feet lest the lame be turned out of the way. The Lord will no more excuse the rejection of light in any one of those who claim to believe in the truth in our day than He excused the Jews for their rejecting light that came from the Lord's appointed agencies. In this our day the refusal to walk in the light leaves men in darkness always. 1888 301.1