The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 85—To W. C. White


Petoskey, Mich.

July 27, 1890.

Dear Son Willie:

I told you our next meeting would be doubled, and it was. We had the small Baptist church, which was about full-seventy in all present; six were outsiders, the rest Sabbathkeepers. Quite a number were from Battle Creek. Elder Corliss opened the meeting and I spoke from the first chapter of 1 Peter 2-9. The Lord gave me strength and freedom and it was easy talking to these souls that are hungering for the bread of life. Elder Corliss occupied a few minutes speaking to the point. Dr. Lay spoke well a few minutes, then thirty-seven excellent testimonies were borne and all expressed their gratitude for the meeting. The next Sabbath there will be more for they now know I will speak every Sabbath. We had a good meeting. 1888 683.1

I cannot see why this place has received no more attention. If there is a place in Michigan where there should be a mission both summer and winter, it is in Petoskey. There are places of resort within easy reach of this place and many guests are entertained. If something had been started years ago, at this time there would have been a flourishing church and mission. There are those who reside here who are friendly and who are really convinced of the Sabbath but there have been no meetings in Petoskey since last fall. But since we came there is an awakening among all the scattered Sabbathkeepers at the thought that they are not to be left and neglected. Dr. Lay and Dr. Douse and myself are talking together and planning. Dr. Lay has no help, as you well known, in his wife or in his children. 1888 683.2

Dr. Douse told me the conversation that went on between Lizzie Lay herself and some of the Sabbathkeepers who do not know me. She stated that their family did not place any particular faith now in Sister White's testimony. She said Elder Smith, Elder Butler, Elder Canright, and mentioned other names of the elders, did not any longer regard the testimonies as they once did but they considered Sister White's work and influence was a thing of the past. We had got beyond the need of the testimonies. She claimed to know that she had good authority for her statements. She said a reproof was given to their family which was not true. Dr. Lay heard what his wife and girls said and he told Sister Douse not to let their words have any influence upon them. He said he was embarrassed to make the statement that his wife and children were not in a clear spiritual state, and he wished her to understand that he believed every word of the testimonies and those referring to their family he knew to be true, every word of them. 1888 683.3

This statement is what I meet everywhere in regard to Brother Smith, Elder Butler, Wm. Gage, and several others whose names I cannot remember. I felt sad to have such impressions going out. Those who have been reproved fasten upon this doubting, unbelieving position of our leading men and feel at liberty to say the testimonies given for them were not true. Dr. Douse was a Seventh-day Baptist and but a short time in the faith. She told them that it was the testimonies of Sister White that were the means of her conversion to present truth, and when she gave up the testimonies she should give up all the rest, for the testimonies have their place in the third angel's message. 1888 684.1

The people assembled Sabbath. Some came by boat from across the lake, others by cars from six and ten miles out in the country. A wealthy farmer and his wife living about one mile out came in. Once he kept the Sabbath. He spoke in our meeting well. We are going to see him the first of this week. Dr. Lay has been to see him a number of times. Dr. Lay says that there are several more keeping the Sabbath whom they could not well notify, but will get word to them before next Sabbath. 1888 684.2

Well, you may inquire, How did the people look? They were nice looking, well dressed, an intelligent appearing company. We are now trying to see what can be done in securing meetinghouses. The Methodists are building them a new house. Their old one is for sale, but they have built the new very close to the old and they may object to Sabbathkeepers worshipping in this house so close to them. The Methodist house is much larger than the little Baptist church. But the Baptist location is good, two lots, room enough to build a parsonage and to add to the building. It will have to be enlarged, if purchased, at once, for there could not be seated more than one hundred or a few more in the Baptist church. I am hoping that the Lord will open the way for something to be done in this place. Help should be given to this place and why our people do not take in the openings of such places as Petoskey is beyond my comprehension. 1888 685.1

We should hold a position at Bayview. Here we can be exerting an influence when the assembly meet here for a couple of months in the summer. Then another class meet. The hay fever afflicted ones come in about as many in number as the assembly that was conveyed at Bayview. This class should have attention. There should be those who will visit them and give Bible readings to them. Well, I am much stronger than I was. 1888 685.2

July 28. I have not been able to sleep after three this morning and I arise to write. Yesterday Dr. Douse came with her horse and carriage to take me for a ride. We were out several hours. We went up the west side of the town. The Salisbury cottage is on the east side of town. We saw some very beautiful places for summer residences. 1888 685.3

As we were returning we stopped at a house to make inquiry in regard to the owner of a maple grove. A man with dark complexion but a most benevolent countenance came out, and his wife—a motherly, intelligent looking woman—followed him to the carriage. I asked how long they had lived in the place they occupied and he answered, only in the hot seasons. He was from Vermontville. His name was Henan. He came to Petoskey at this season of the year to find relief from the asthma. 1888 686.1

Dr. Douse introduced me as Mrs. White. Then what an exclamation! “Why, we know Mrs. White. We are old acquaintances through her writings. We have her books.” “And,” said the woman, “I believe that way very much myself.” How my heart longed to see these people embracing the truth! 1888 686.2

I must have a horse and carriage, but to pay out twenty dollars for the use of a horse and carriage for four weeks, one half a day at most, is rather steep, and yet I am beginning to think I cannot do better. One more trial is to be made and if I cannot succeed then I must accept the first chance for I must ride. I wish I had shipped my horse here, and if I do not attend any camp meetings I will do it. But I shall, I think, attend the Ohio meeting and the Illinois meeting. 1888 686.3

I find that there is plenty to do here, but our people have not done what they ought to have done in this place. It is a capital chance to sow the seeds of truth and we must not lose the opportunity. There are people from all parts east of the Rocky Mountains. There ought to be men and women of good address appointed as canvassers. I am glad I came here, for I see and sense what is needed. I am so sorry I have not, in such places, any means at my command to lead out and to say, I will invest so much, and try to get even the poor here to do something; but they cannot do much. I shall get a horse and carriage to go visit a well-to-do farmer. He was at the meeting last Sabbath. He lives about one mile out of the business part of the town. The place is growing, buildings are going up all the time, summer residences and also fine buildings for summer and winter. I am much pleased with the climate and this will become a place of considerable importance. 1888 686.4

Copied from original handwritten letter
as grammatically corrected.
November 28, 1958.