Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


The Van Horn Confession

But, Nicola was not alone in resisting light in 1888. Another was Isaac Van Horn, who labored in Battle Creek and to whom on January 20 Ellen had written a testimony filling eleven pages: “I want to say a few words to you,” she wrote, “to tell you some things which burden my heart. You are represented to me as not walking and working in the light as you think you are doing.” She continued: 4BIO 86.5

Again and again has the Lord presented before me the Minneapolis meeting. The developments there are but dimly seen by some, and the same fog which enveloped their minds on that occasion has not been dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Notwithstanding the evidences of the power of God which attended the truth which was shining forth at that meeting, there were those who did not comprehend it. 4BIO 87.1

In the blessings that have since accompanied the presentation of the truth, justification by faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ, they have not discerned increased evidence from God as to where and how He is and has been working.—Letter 61, 1893. 4BIO 87.2

She pleaded with Van Horn: “Why did you not receive the testimony the Lord sent you through Sister White? Why have you not harmonized with the light God has given you? ... Elder Van Horn, you need the quickening influence of the Spirit of God....I plead with you, dear brother, take off thy shoes from off thy feet, and walk softly before God.” 4BIO 87.3

The earnest testimony was used of God to save the man. In a four-page handwritten letter he reviewed his experience in receiving and accepting the testimony. He said: 4BIO 87.4

This communication by your hand to me I heartily accept as a testimony from the Lord. It reveals to me the sad condition I have been in since the Minneapolis meeting, and this reproof from the Lord is just and true. Since it came, I see more than ever before the great sin it is to reject light. And this is made doubly sinful by my own stubborn will holding out so long against the light that has shone so brightly upon me. 4BIO 87.5

He then related how, a few days before receiving the testimony, he began to see his true condition and on a Sabbath morning at the General Conference confessed his great wrong at Minneapolis and since then. He felt this experience was but paving the way for the testimony he was about to receive. Three days later, and still during the General Conference session, the testimony came. He told Ellen White what took place on receiving it: 4BIO 87.6

Late in the evening I went to my room where all alone I read it three times over with much weeping, accepting it sentence by sentence as I read. I bowed before the Lord in prayer and confessed it all to Him. He heard my earnest plea, and for bitterness of soul He gave me peace and joy.... 4BIO 88.1

I could but thank Him for sending me this message, for it is a token of His love. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” 4BIO 88.2

The next morning he went into the ministers’ meeting and made a most earnest and extended confession of his wrong before the men who knew of his course. It brought light and blessing to his soul. He could exclaim, “I am now a free man again, thank the Lord, having found pardon and peace.” 4BIO 88.3

Before closing his letter to Mrs. White, he wrote: 4BIO 88.4

I shall need counsel and instruction. If you have anything further that would give me more light, showing me more clearly my true condition, I shall be very glad to receive it.—I. D. Van Horn to EGW, March 9, 1893.

In her five-page reply Ellen White declared: 4BIO 88.5

I do accept your letter fully, and am very, very thankful your eyes have been anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, that you may see clearly and give to the flock of God meat in due season, which they do much need.—Letter 60, 1893.

When the testimonies were wholeheartedly received and accepted, joy came to Ellen White's heart. In addition to Isaac Van Horn and Leroy Nicola, word from O. A. Olsen told of others who were moved to confess at the 1893 General Conference session (Manuscript 80, 1893). A week later George I. Butler, residing in Florida, made a public confession through The Review and Herald, June 13, 1893 of wrong attitudes on his part and of his coming into line with his brethren. This left but very few holdouts among men of particular significance in the cause. 4BIO 88.6