The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 22—To G. I. Butler and wife


Battle Creek, Mich.

December 11, 1888

Dear Brother and Sister Butler:—

I sincerely hope that you will not leave Battle Creek until after the Week of Prayer. Let us together seek the Lord, place ourselves in the channel of light, and open our hearts to the divine Spirit. I believe the Lord will work for us. I cannot bear the thought of your leaving Battle Creek just now, for your leaving will not tend to draw our hearts any nearer in harmony. The Lord is waiting to be gracious, and I am desirous that you shall see matters in a different light than you now see them. I am very desirous that you shall not leave Battle Creek. Be assured that I will do all in my power to have that unity which Christ prayed might exist with His disciples. If we are wrong we want to see the matter as it is, and make things straight. I beg of you not to listen to the tempter and leave this place until after the Week of Prayer. We want the favor of God. The Lord can do His work without us, but we cannot do His work without His divine presence. 1888 190.1

We are nearing the closing up of this world's history, and we want to be right with God. I believe the Lord will work for us if we will do that which the Lord enjoins us to do. We are not above temptation. Satan tempts those strongly who are in responsible positions. I am sure that you have perverted ideas; that you have imagined many things that are without foundation. The cause and work of God which we represent requires us to place ourselves in the channel of light, that the Lord may communicate to us His will. 1888 190.2

I beg of you, Sister Butler, as God has given you health, to praise His holy name. You have not only done your own soul injury but the soul of your husband in suggesting doubts, criticizing, in evil speaking, in suspicioning evil, in gathering up that which appears to you to be faults and errors in others, and talking of these. You and Brother Butler have taken credit for having great penetration and discernment, when it is registered in the heavenly record as thinking evil, speaking evil, and harboring prejudice and evil-surmisings. This is not savoring of the spirit of Christ, but it is another spirit. Sister Butler, if you were indeed living in the light, you would have light to impart to others. You confuse your husband's mind, bewilder his judgment, and he has woven into his experience your ideas and your feelings. This has been brought into his work to a greater or less extent. The leaven of suspicion has made you both unkind in thoughts, and uncharitable in feelings; and this is not pleasing to the Lord. 1888 190.3

Now, Sister Butler, it is your solemn duty before God to learn the eloquence of silence; to have far less words, and to close your heart to these suspicious jealousies. If you do this the Lord will be your helper. The peace of Christ will pervade your soul. This unjust criticism is just as much a sin as any other fault, and it is offensive to God. I hope you will both place yourselves where you will think no evil. The grace of Christ must come into the soul, then it will be revealed in the character. Be careful, I beseech of you, be careful that you be not found on the enemy's side, doing the enemy's work, while you think you are doing God service. 1888 191.1

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. We must be Christians. Blindness of mind will come upon us if we fail to heed the injunction of the Spirit of God. We are in an enemy's land, and he is constantly tempting us that we may not keep our souls in subjection to the Spirit of God. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which ye are also called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” 1888 191.2

I feel very solemn as I read the two last Testimonies, numbers 31 and 32. Will you please read these Testimonies again, for you may have forgotten some of the important appeals and warnings which they contain. If God has indeed spoken unto us, let us not turn away our hearts and ears from hearing the truth. Read in Testimony 31 the last three chapters, “The Seal of the Living God,” “An Appeal,” and “Christian Unity.” Then you will see if those Testimonies do not sound the same notes of warning that are now being sounded. Please read these Testimonies carefully and prayerfully. 1888 192.1

And for Christ's sake, Sister Butler, restrain your picking and criticizing, lest you lose the Spirit of God out of your heart. I do want you both should have altogether a different spirit, for I tell you in the fear of God, you both need to have a work done for you, and every moment's delay is perilous. Testimony Number 31, page 172. Please read the article in the same Testimony upon “Brotherly Love.” 1888 192.2

I believe if our ministering brethren would only read the testimonies that the Lord has graciously given them, that they would reveal a different spirit. God will hold them accountable for neglect and disregard of the light which he has given them. My brother Butler, you have had too many burdens upon you, but I tell you in love that the Lord has not been pleased with the spirit of warfare you have had on health reform. Had you been a health reformer in deed and truth, you would have had much better health and escaped many perils. God has given light upon this subject, but you have worked away from the light, and your influence has been opposed to the work that the Lord would do for this people upon this point. You have stood directly in the way of the work of God in health reform. You have suffered sickness because your habits in eating and in labor have not been according to the light which God has given to His people. I am sorry that I have to write in reference to these things as I do. Had you appreciated and heeded the light which the Lord has given us, you would not now be confused in judgment, and so enfeebled in nerve and brain power. You attribute your sickness to erroneous causes. You put an incorrect interpretation upon many things. You are an erring man, defective in character, and need the grace of God at every step. 1888 192.3

Your wife must come into a different attitude before God, and in her feelings toward her brethren, else she will be overcome by the devices of the enemy, and have a spirit that is not in harmony with Jesus Christ. I love you both. I want you to be helped and blessed in these meetings, therefore let us together seek God. 1888 193.1

Brother and Sister Butler, I know that your discernment is not clear. Do not then move hastily, if you do you will always regret it. You will be subject to strong temptations. It is always thus. You know how it has been in your experience with others, and you know how the enemy would lead the minds that are tempted to interpret everything in a wrong light. In the place of their trying to see their own hearts and set them in order, they will question and try and see if they cannot find some flaw in the Testimonies, and you have not one by your side who will help you into confidence, but one who will suggest many things to strengthen doubt and unbelief. 1888 193.2

I again entreat of you to remain where you are during the Week of Prayer. The Bible, the Bible alone, laid up in the heart and blessed by the Spirit of God, can make man right and keep him right. All that I may say will have no weight with you or your wife unless a work is wrought upon your heart. You will make objections to the testimonies, and unless the Spirit of God shall have a controlling power, conscience will be warped. The heart, the fountain of the issues of life, is kept only when the word of God is brought into the soul, and rules there. The very position you have occupied will now prove a temptation to you, to keep you from seeking the Lord with all your heart. You are a very firm, determined man, not inclined to make any confession. There is a pride of soul that has not been crucified. I beg of you, if you have difficulties, come with them. I know your danger; you do not know it, but it is great. I want you to attend this Week of Prayer. I want you to free yourself from Satan's grasp. Now I love you both, but I dare not hold my peace, as I see you under temptation, just as weak as any other man. I beg of you to come and let us seek God together. You are not right with God. You are not in harmony with the Spirit of Christ. You have a large amount of self that is holding you away from God. 1888 194.1

I tell you the work God has given me to do has not suffered and is not likely to suffer half as much from open opposers as from my apparent friends, those who appear to be defenders of the Testimonies, but are their real assailants; who weaken them and make them of none effect. You ask, do you mean this for me? I do, my brother. I am sorry to say it, but I do most decidedly. If you leave this place as you are now, I shall have great fears that you will never see your way clearly to the light. If you had not been opening your mind to skepticism and unbelief, and to envy, jealousies, and evil-surmisings, and had others to help you in this work, you would not be in the position you are now before God. Your health is shattered, but do not allow your mind to take a wrong bias; for when you once get set in the wrong direction it will be difficult for you to change. You have been doing this, little by little, for years. Brother Butler, I want to be in harmony with God and in harmony with you. I want you to fall on the Rock and be broken. Let self die; let Christ be enthroned in the heart. I tell you, my brother, it is not of the least use for me to attempt to set you right. I have had your case opened before me; I know your temperament, and I know if ever a man needed the converting power of the grace of God, you need it at the present time. I want you to come to this Week of Prayer, and let us all seek God together. Let self break. It must be done sooner or later if you are ever saved. Jesus loves you and will work for you and gather you in His strong arms but how much you need your spiritual eyesight anointed. There are many things you do not see clearly, and your soul is in peril. I want Sister Butler to drink deep draughts from the fountain of life, that Christ may be in her a well of water, springing up unto eternal life. 1888 194.2

(Signed) Ellen G. White